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This week, Untapped Cities reader @caseytweeted asked us “Any good suggestions for exploring New Orleans aside from the abandoned Six Flags?” It got us thinking that it was high time we put together a guide to New Orleans from an urbanist perspective. We asked two NOLA experts, Mary Rowe of the Municipal Art Society who was formerly at the New Orleans Institute for Resilience and Innovation and Michael T. Martin of St. Claude Main Street, a non-profit organization in New Orleans.

We asked them for places that tell the story of New Orleans from an urban planning and architecture perspective:

1. The abandoned Six Flags is still worth seeing

Surreal, a metaphor for what went wrong.

2. New Orleans Charity Hospital

Art Deco, shuttered and on National Trust for Historic Preservation’s most endangered list in 2008. New Orleans built a new hospital for all the wrong reasons.

Charity Hospital-New Orleans-Abandoned-NOLAImage via National Trust for Historic Preservation

3. The Lafitte Public Housing Development and the Tremé neighborhood

Lafitte is the only historic housing development still standing, though it is undergoing a major rehabilitation after Katrina that was designed by residents, who chose to reconnect the street grid.

Lafitte Public Housing-New Orleans-NOLA-KatrinaImage via Lafitte Public Housing Documentary Project

4. Lower Ninth Ward and the Industrial Canal  


Image by Kiki Whang for Untapped Cities

The Ninth Ward suffered catastrophic damage when the canal was breached. Two years ago, on the last Untapped Cities coverage of the neighborhood, much was still abandoned but some areas are redeveloping.

5. Seabrook Floodgate Complex

A post-Katrina initiative, the Seabrook Floodgate Complex protects the Industrial Canal and neighboring areas from a storm surge from Lake Ponchartrain.

Seabrook Floodgate Industrial Complex-Aerial View-New Orleans-NOLAImage by US Army Corps of Engineers via Wikimedia Commons

6. Iberville Housing Projects: A current Choice Neighborhoods grant recipient from US Department of Housing and Urban Development, currently under construction

Iberville Housing Project Rendering-Plan-New Orleans-NOLA
7. St. Thomas Housing Development: A HOPE VI recipient, completed but controversial.

8. Broad Street Pumping Stations

9. St. Claude Avenue: Two pocket parks are opening up by the end of October and multiple art galleries

Pocket Parks St Claude New Orleans-Design

10. City Park: specifically the entrance with classic City Beautiful design

11. LSU/VA Hospital complex (between Canal St/Tulane Ave): A controversial project which destroyed a historic section of mid-City New Orleans.

12. Freret Street: The New Freret” is its brand, a typical entertainment district

13. The Captain’s Houses in Holy Cross

Captain Houses-Paul Doullut-Holy Cross-Neighborhood-NOLAImage Source

14. The Milne Boys Home: vacant/blighted grand buildings

Milne School for Boys-Abandoned-New Orleans-NOLA

15. Claiborne Overpass: walk below highway on Claiborne Avenue if you’re interested in the sounds of the city

Also check out www.nolalens.org and follow the work of Karen  Gadbois and her Squandered Heritage project

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